Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 Electoral College Projection

   First, thank you for reading this blog. It has been a very fun and fascinating last couple of months watching the political landscape and being able to offer a different kind of insight. Every page view is greatly appreciated. However, this exciting close of a cycle is not the end! Plato said, "Man is by nature a political animal" and The Edwards Analysis will continue to cover the grizzly scenery.

   Today is Tuesday November 6, 2012, THE BIG DAY! It's important to remember the popular vote will be important, but what will be more important will be the electoral college. 270 electoral votes is the magic number to become President of the United States of America. Here is a quick look at the Edwards Analysis projections.

Definite Obama States (electoral votes):
California (55), New York (29), Illinois (20), MICHIGAN (16), NEW JERSEY (14), Washington (12), Massachusetts (11), Maryland (10), MINNESOTA (10), Connecticut (7), Oregon (7), New Mexico(5), Hawaii (4), Maine (4), Rhode Island (4), Delaware (3), Vermont (3), Washington D.C. (3)... 

For a grand total of 217 electoral votes. Michigan, Minnesota, and New Jersey were all done in caps lock and bold because the majority of opinions out there see them as toss up states. All three of these will almost definitely go for Obama, if they do not, then this is going to be an ugly short night for the President. A special note on Minnesota: Michael Barone, Dick Morris, George Will, and Kevin Koffler all think that Minnesota will go Romney. These are very, very smart guys, and come tomorrow morning, they may be correct.

IF any of the states on the Obama list come in for Romney, you can go ahead and change the channel because it is a done deal. 

Definite Romney States (electoral votes):
Texas (38), Florida (29), OHIO (18), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Arizona (11), Indiana (11), Tennessee (11), Missouri (10), Alabama (9), Colorado (9), South Carolina (9), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Oklahoma (7), Arkansas (6), Iowa (6), Kansas (6), Mississippi (6), Utah (6), Nebraska (5), West Virginia (5), Idaho (4), New Hampshire (4), Alaska (3), Montana (3), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Wyoming (3)...

Here are the surprise Romney States
Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10), NEVADA (6)

For a grand total of 321 electoral votes. Ohio is in caps and bold because it is the state of states in the mind of many pundits, and it is being called as a toss up currently by the majority of opinions out there. Nevada is in caps and bold because only Kevin Koffler and the Edwards Analysis see it going Romney... And it will probably go Obama. 

In sum, the Edwards Analysis is projecting that Romney will take 51-54% of the popular vote, and will win the Presidency with 321 electoral votes. Worst case scenario? Romney slightly over 50% with 295 electoral votes. To say it another way, Romney will win by 295 electoral votes or more, and this blog sees it as being a likely 321 electoral votes.

Here are some other predictions:

Karl "The Architect" Rove - Romney 285 electoral votes

Dick Morris - Romney 325 electoral votes

George Will - Romney 321 electoral votes

Kevin Koffler - Romney 321 electoral votes

Nate Silver - Obama 313 electoral votes AND a 90%+ chance of winning (this links to a Slate article that cites his projections as of this morning)

Rush Limbaugh - Romney 300 plus electoral votes

Michael Barone - Romney 315 electoral votes

Larry Sabato - Obama 290 electoral votes

Jim Cramer - Obama 440 electoral votes

Here is a more complete list of predictions from Ezra Klein.

One last thing to mention, on August 18, 2012 The Edwards Analysis made an appraisal of 322 electoral votes for Romney, and has maintained a 320 stance ever since.

Now go out and vote!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lockheed - Interesting To Know

   This is pretty low. According to The Hill, and other reputable outlets, The White House asked Lockheed to delay layoff notices until after the election. Since it is illegal to not give 60 days notice, they even offered to cover the legal fees for doing so. If this story is accurate, the letters should have gone out yesterday. It will be interesting to watch and see what happens, IF in fact it DOES happen. When Romney wins, will President Obama allow the sequestration to happen so that Romney has to immediately deal with ANOTHER leftover headache? Will President Obama allow it to happen just because? Will a then President Romney be blamed for something that happened before he took office, and that he challenged directly during the debates?

Check out the story here.... http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/industry/259517-graham-says-hell-block

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nate Silver - An Example of Polluted Punditry

   Nate Silver, a baseball statistician, accurately predicted the 2008 election. He was correct in 49 out of 50 states. The one state where he was wrong was Indiana, which was the first time that state voted for a democratic President since 1964. So, it is fair to excuse him for that, but it is also important to remember that 2008 was the easiest election to project since 1984. This is a clear example of how polluted the analysis pool is in political punditry.

   Nate has made a prediction for 2012: Obama will take 300 electoral votes and that there is a 79% chance of him winning (NOTE: this measure on his site is active and may change). Nate is a very, very bright man, however, would you want Bobby Fischer to perform your bypass? The point here is that some skills do not apply across the board. Politico posted a good article about how Nate may be a one term celebrity, and even though Nate is going to be wrong in 2012, they probably will be too. The main stream media loves this guy, because he says what they want to hear. Thus, they will continue to promote him as the sage of their beliefs that he is.

   This is a premium example of an uninformed opinion. Has Nick ever ran a campaign? No. Has he ever conducted a poll? No. Does he understand statistical models, proper weighting, or trends? Probably not. So what does he bring to the table? He is well known in baseball for using Sabermetrics. Basically this is the practice of using "objective statistics" to measure the performance of baseball players, and now he is using similar methods in analyzing politics. Part of his system is feeding his database every poll possible. That system in and of itself is flawed. Bad numbers never help yield a more accurate number. Sabermetrics by its function assumes the law of averages over the season of a player. These principles are not applicable to an election that is essentially a one game season. Then there is the keyword "objective statistics." Objective is the rarest thing in politics. A batting average is objective, over a certain amount of attempts, a batter will hit the ball a certain number of times. In a game a batter may face a pitcher four or five times. In politics there is only one election day.

   The problem is not the tool being used (Nate Silver), it is the machine (main stream media) promoting the tool that is polluting what little scientific method there is in the field. Out of emotional self interest, the machine continues to promote the product validating its emotion, instead of producing the best product. This is something important and fun to watch, during the current election cycle, so that accurate assessments can be made in the next election cycle. Unless of course the goal is to be a one term accurate prognosticator in tandem with a one term President.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Final Presidential Debate

   So very often political punditry suffers from "group think", which in turn leads viewers and voters into a group think mindset. Voters who have decided on their candidate are susceptible to this, as they are already part of a group. Undecided/swing voters by their very nature are disparate from this. The topic of "who won the debate" is a question that hinges upon this difference.
   In the last two debates, Ryan vs. Biden and Obama vs. Romney Part Deux, the contests were close. Both were close enough that fans of either side could claim a win for their guy. The pundits and useless score keepers could even break it down into a more useless point scoring system. "Biden won here, Ryan won there." This is mostly, if not completely, frivolous. Scoring a presidential debate like a college debate is asinine.  In principal, that is treating the debate as if it happened in a vacuum, which it most certainly does not. All of the news and cable channels are guilty of this fallacy. 

   The first Presidential debate was bound to the trappings of the months of previous campaigning and events, the Vice Presidential debate was captive to all of the preceding, as was the second Presidential debate, and so shall tonight's debate be shackled to the confines of the antecedent history. Additionally, the main concern for debate success must be voter persuasion, and not some puerile pundit points scored that make Chris Matthews or Sean Hannity happy. How did the debates in sum affect the opinion of the precious undecided voters? In all three previous debates that has been a resounding win for the Romney/Ryan ticket.

   The first Obama/Romney debate was an Obama trouncing. The Biden/Ryan debate was exactly what both sides needed. Biden rallied the base and Ryan showed that he was well informed and ready for the job, but it would be Ryan win. Why? Because Joe, despite being more lucid than at any point in recent history, completely alienated many of the swing voters. The laughing and interrupting was a huge turn off to the undecideds who wanted to hear both opinions, and it was especially a turn off to the female undecideds who saw it as rude, childish, insecure and not becoming of a statesman. So the net result was Biden winning the battle (rallying the base), but losing the war (turning off undecided voters). Tactically Vice President Biden committed two big errors: first, "I always say what I mean" and second "we did not know they wanted more security" in response to the death of the American ambassador to Libya. Biden makes so many gaffes, such as "for the last four years the middle class has been buried" that having the sound bite of, "I always say what I mean" is damning. The VP candidate must show that they are ready for the job and not completely out to lunch. In regards to Libya, that was a bold face lie, and the avalanche of facts is showing it. Eroding trust is never beneficial to a candidate, especially in this economic climate. Of course many of these pundits continue with, "however most voters don't vote for a president based on the VP candidate." True, the VP debate only factors in for about 18% of voters, but here is the catch: that segment heavily overlaps with undecided voters. This means that the group of voters who will decide this election have been exposed to a decisive Romney win in the first debate, and a polite, knowledgeable and capable Ryan versus a bombastic, belligerent and bad-mannered Biden. All before going into the second Obama/Romney debate.

   By last Tuesday when Obama walked into Hofstra Hall, he was already facing alarming deficiencies. President Obama had to assuage the damage from his first debate, rally his base on top of what Biden did, win back undecideds whom Joe alienated, and begin to add new voters to his count. He succeeded in only the first two measures. Directly after the debate, focus groups for MSNBC and Fox gave the win to Romney. Why? Because Romney showed up very well again. Voters just needed to see him again to show that the first time around was not a fluke. Most importantly is this aspect: very few if any voters make a decision on the entirety of a debate, or a series of debates. The vast majority of people making up their mind are waiting to hear an answer on one to five topics. With the economy in it's current condition, the two most imminent topics are jobs and taxes. When Mitt gave his answers on tax REFORM, in which he included job creation, he won the election. It's that simple. Currently that leaves the debate tonight, and 15 days until voters go to the poll. What must President Obama and Governor Romney do tonight?

   For Governor Romney it is simple. He must show up, show that is he the same guy from the last two debates, that he has a solid grip on basic diplomacy, and go after the middle east failures. There are many ways he can highlight the foreign policy failures of this election, and as long as he does not go full tilt Biden, most of them should work. The task for President Obama is much more difficult. Having already lost concerning the dialog of economy and jobs, he must, MUST make a huge statement concerning the United States' place in the world. Mitt will definitely bring up China and how they are manipulating currency. This will be the President's opportunity to make up ground in foreign policy and economics. There are a lot of opinions on China, but the fact remains that they mine 95% of the rare earth minerals (and possibly up to 97%) responsible for computers, smartphones, MRI machines and so many of the things Americans take for granted. Yes, mining can start here, but at what cost or benefit? Diplomacy is paramount in dealing with China and that is likely Mr. Obama's biggest opening. What will he do with it?

   In the end will it even matter? Every candidate that has been at 50% or higher in the Gallup likely voter poll in mid October has won the race for President, every time. Mitt has been at or over 50% since the 10/9-15 rolling average Gallup poll. Furthermore, President Obama has not broken the 50% barrier at any time, and in the last few days he has held steady at 45%. What's more, the undecideds always break heavily for the challenger.

   At this point every last one of the lifeboats has departed, and it is all over except for the crying.

For debate analysis this evening, follow The Edwards Analysis on twitter tonight, www.twitter.com/edwardsanalysis

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Obama and Romney Second Debate

The Edwards Analysis will have live commentary during the debate tonight on twitter, you can follow here: http://twitter.com/edwardsanalysis for the raw feed of insight.

The format tonight will be much different from two weeks ago. This is a town hall meeting where citizens will ask questions and the candidates will get two minutes each to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town hall citizens will be undecided voters chosen by the Gallup organization.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Post Biden/Ryan Debate Ads Have Started

The boring debate last night will be analyzed later, for now, enjoy these examples of post debate ads. Whose do you prefer?

Pro Ryan

Pro Biden

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Notes 10/11/2012

Happy Thursday, it is the vice presidential debate night. You can catch it on your channel of choice at 6PM (PST) / 9PM (EST). The Edwards Analysis will have live commentary during the debate tonight on twitter, you can follow here: http://twitter.com/edwardsanalysis for the raw feed of insight.

A few articles for you today:

#1. Jack Welch wrote a great article about the unemployment numbers released Friday 10/05/2012. In it he mentions the "Labor Force Participation Rate" which is the closest thing to a "Total Number of Working People" mentioned in the Edwards Analysis: Campaign Finance Terms post. He also points out that the numbers are just a survey and not a full accounting.

#2. If you are wondering about California gas prices, and other economic issues in the Golden State, Victor Davis Hanson has something to say here: http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/329772.

#3. This is probably one of, if not the, most accurate polls out there: http://news.investors.com/special-report/508415-ibdtipp-poll.aspx

Friday, October 5, 2012

Obama Romney First Debate Recap or Obama's Concession Stand

   Since the world needs one more article about the Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, away we go.

   The consensus among everybody is that Mitt Romney won, handily. Chris Matthews freaked out, Ed Schultz was in shock, and even Bill Maher, who donated $1 million to the President's campaign, flat out said Mitt won. Of course Bill hedged that by saying that Obama had the facts on his side, and that Lehrer sucked.  Let's address this directly. 

   Jim Lehrer did a good job. Interrupting would have been contrary to the idea, people are not there to hear him talk they are there to hear the two candidates. Additionally, if you need a moderator to save you, you should not be the President. There is no moderator when talking to heads of state from China, Russia, etc... He's being used as a scapegoat by Obama supporters for the President's anemic performance. The only people complaining about Lehrer are Obama supporters. No Republicans or moderates are complaining. Complaining about the moderator is like complaining about referees, it doesn't matter what you think, only the scoreboard. The scoreboard in this case is the undecided voters. Not one single TRUE undecided is worried about the moderator. The truth of the matter is, if people don't like what someone is saying, the person talking about it more will not help the matter, it will only exacerbate it. What they are upset about is Mitt won. He beat Barack and he beat the system in a sense. One more note on Jim Lehrer, the negative attitude towards him shifted into nasty commentary on his appearance in the twitterverse. How weak is that? If you are attacking a 78 year old man on his appearance after a career that goes back to when he covered the John F. Kennedy assassination, you lose. That shows that you clearly have no substance to stand on at all, and you are one step away from yo' mama jokes in what is supposed to be a battle of ideas. 

   Stephanie Cutter, Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager, kept tweeting negatively about Mitt commenting on his demeanor? Steph, were you watching the same debate? She kept on with the hash tag #testymitt. As a candidate, Barack should be furious that that is the best she can come up with to defend her boss in the debate. It is weak, and Jen Psaki, Obama's traveling press secretary was worse than Cutter. On a talk show after the debate she said Romney looked like the attacker-in-chief, and that Obama was calm and steady? Yeah, because he was slooooooow in speech, and he was grasping for words. He used more "uhs" and "ums" than a junior high boy talking to the senior prom queen. But, what was really jaw dropping was when Jen proclaimed "If you are a senior on medicaid, if you are a senior in Florida, then you come away with that Mitt wants to voucherize medicare." The problem here is that even Obama said that if you are 54 or older you aren't going on the program that supposedly "voucherizes" medicare. This was an enormous concession, just like when Obama admitted that he and Mitt had a similar position on social security. Which is probably the first time a democrat has ever said that in a debate. It's like a southern republican saying that a west coast liberal is "solid on national defense." 

   So now that it is clear that the Obama campaign has problems, it's time to look at the President's problems. Why did he stumble when telling Michelle happy anniversary? He looked down, a lot. He wouldn't look Mitt in the eyes. Every defense of his policies seemed barely there. He complained about things that are current, like loopholes in the taxes. Barack, you have been the President for 3-1/4 years, you cannot, you MUST NOT complain about anything current. He attacked Donald Trump? Trump is not running, attacking him only shows that he has gotten under your skin, big time. Making it even worse, you KNOW that Trump, LOVED that. He loves attention right after money. Sliding down even more, he called him a small business. That may work for some misguided tax point he wanted to make, but to the average listener, that makes him sound detached. If you are calling a billionaire a small business, how on earth could you possibly relate to the family dentist employing a couple people and keeping their smiles pretty? Yeah, you really stick up for the little guy and the middle class. A few people have commented that it was like he was asleep and they were waiting for him to wake up. That is pretty fair since he has been living in a dream world the last four years. Unfortunately, the problems America has are in the real world and it needs somebody will real solutions.

   Governor Romney offered real solutions to many of the country's problems. This column has commented before that Romney needed to offer more specifics about "how" he was going to do things. Finally, at this debate he did that in as solid of a way as possible. Left pundits are knocking Romney for not being specific, glossing over how they let Obama say whatever he wanted with no details in 2008 AND NOW, but they are wrong. He was extremely specific, all things considered. You can see it like this: Imagine you are in a group, even just a family of 4 or 5, and you have to decide where to eat. Think about where the conversation starts and where it goes. Think of how off center it can get. NOW, imagine 100 senate toddlers, and 435 house of representative babies (some of these people are great public servants, this sweeping comment is for emphasis) all fighting over different nitpick details. Some of these details are based on what the people who elected them want. To ask him to be any more specific than he has been is unreasonable, and shows ignorance towards the process of governing.

   Not only was Mitt specific, he did everything else very well. One of the easiest ways to tell how a debate is going is to watch it on mute, body language will tell you almost everything you need to know. Mitt was calm, comfortable and confident. He looked presidential.  At one point when they tried to take the debate off entitlements, Mitt forced them to stay on it, and won. Republicans do not do this and they definitely do not win at it. Every time Barack attacked him with one point, he offered three points to answer. What this tells the undecided voters, is that he already has answers to big problems, and will continue to find solutions. He had command of the issues, and total command of the debate. Wes Welker, maybe the hardest working athlete in pro sports, said it best. "Romney sounds like he is using his own words. Obama sounds like he is using someone else's" The only caveat here is that it was not a sound, it was the truth.

   So now everybody has blamed the bad debate on everything you can imagine. Al Gore even blamed the high altitude. The question is, can Obama recover. The answer is: Not likely. His problem was not preparation, his problem was not Jim Lehrer, and it was not the Bogeyman. Barack's problem is much more systemic than any of this. The real issue here is the President's fundamental lack of substance of policy. He is trying to defend a gas station burrito against an Emeril Lagasse Kobe beef steak, you just cannot do it. Making it worse, it's like the cost of the two are reversed. Obama has said that other policies have failed, "we tried it their way", when the reality is HIS policies have failed. Exacerbating the issue, he clearly has a new problem with self effacing humor. He used to seem okay about it, but now that there is real criticism, the former facade of confidence is falling. Subconsciously, everyone sees it, and the press is partly to blame. Since Obama's entrance onto the national stage, the main stream press has been deeply in love with the guy. To keep the love alive, they have treated him with kid gloves, further insulated the ever present presidential bubble, and not forced him to stay on his toes.

   Competition is very important, it brings out the best and worst in people and teams. Mitt has been forced to be hyper competitive in defending and refining his position over the last two years, while Barack's biggest questions have come from Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Most importantly, and maybe the most damning of all things, is that President Obama has never had to debate his record. He coasted through the Illinois state senate to the U.S. Senate and into the democratic presidential primaries in 2008. At that point the debates were either large groups where he could coast more. When it finally got serious, Hillary had decades of political baggage, he had ideas. He was able to debate on "if's" and "maybe's." Here in 2012 he has almost 4 years of abject failure. Yes Mr. President, the democrats in congress may not like Obamacare being repealed, but the people want it.

   The trappings of success have set President Obama up for an almost certain failure. What matters now is, is he a winner at heart? Even Michael Jordan stumbled at times, he didn't even make his high school varsity basketball team as a sophomore. A real champion will overcome, but then again, a real champion has put in copious amounts of time and hard work. A champion is responsible, and responsibility looks forward, while blame looks backwards.

Questions or comments? Feel free to post here or email me at edwardsanalysis@gmail.com

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Campaign Financial Terms

   It is less than a week to the Presidential campaign debates, are you excited? Whether your answer is yes or no, one thing is definite, certain topics will not be properly discussed. Number one on that list is the financial situation of the United States.

   Pundits and journalists attempt to use many different metrics to justify their opinion of the economy, this is sad, if not criminal. Very few are taking a sober approach towards the situation. Here is a break down of a few "thoughts" by the political class.

  1. "The Dow Jones is doing well." So what? The Dow Jones is as antiquated as ticker tape. It's literally 30 different "blue chip" stocks weighted to give a rough idea of how the market is doing. It was founded May 26, 1896. The whole reason it was created was because 106 years ago they had no means of tracking all trades, today they can, and they probably do somewhere and just don't tell anybody. Furthermore, what that means is 30 companies are doing well.... Which is nice but not enough. Mark Cuban wrote a great blog about what the stock market is currently compared to historically. Most importantly he highlights that it is no longer a mechanism to raise cash for companies, and that it is now a mechanism for traders, or as he calls them hackers, to exploit the system. 
  2. "Unemployment claims are down." That's great, what about all of the people that are not working? This is such a shady set up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses 6 different measures of unemployment. On top of that, they adjust it seasonally, which means that politicians can  convienently tout the numbers they like. The U.S. has over 311,000,000 people, why isn't there a simple total number of people at the end of every month? Hey BLS, here is an idea: Each month list the total amount of working age employed and unemployed people. It's pretty simple. X amount this month are eligible for the work force, and Y amount got a job. As an added bonus, they should include how many people are federal employees and how many are state employees, then say how many per state.
  3. "The QE3 is helping." This is just an unadulterated lie. Quantitative Easing is simple the Federal Reserve CREATING more money supply. When more money supply is created, the value of the dollar decreases. So you can thank the fed for devaluing all the greenbacks you have been working to earn and save. 
  4. "The deficit... The debt." Nobody has taken the time to draw the line of distinction here. Everybody talks about it like they know something, but they seem oblivious to the function. The DEFICIT is the annual amount of spending that the United States has to borrow money to accomplish. Hold on, here come the numbers. In 2011 the federal government expected tax revenues of $2,567,000,000,000, the actual receipts were $2,314,000,000. They have cute phrases, instead of expected and actual, they use "Requested" and "Enacted." It only makes perfect sense that they in turn spent $3,880,000,000,000 ($25,000,000,000 of this was debt payment). That gives a ONE YEAR total of $1,566,000,000,000 that the U.S. had to borrow to cover spending. ONE YEAR! Hmm.... 2.314 divided by 3.88 equals .5964... Wait, the U.S had to borrow FORTY PERCENT of the money it spent? For 2012 the DEFICIT is estimated to be $1,327,000,000,000. As with most government operations, it is likely that it will be and even larger sum. Wow, that is a lot of DEBT. No, NO it's NOT. The current United States Of America's DEBT is OVER $16,000,000,000,000. DEBT is the aggregate of annual DEFICITS. The DEBT of the United States is almost SEVEN times that of it's annual "income" and growing at a rate of over 60% of "income" annually. This would be like a person earning $100,000 a year being in debt to the tune of $700,000 and adding $67,000 to it annually. This is horrible. For that person they would have to cut that $67,000 (FORTY PERCENT) of spending just to stop the DEFICIT BLEEDING and break even. To make any real difference in the DEBT, they would have to cut FORTY-FIVE percent or more. If the U.S. cuts just FORTY PERCENT PLUS $100,000,000,000 - that is  ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS - or a total cut of $1,427,000,000,000 of spending in 2013, and continues to spend $100,000,000,000 LESS than it takes in annually, by 2023 it would still be $15,000,000,000,000 in DEBT. If they maintained that rate, the United States of America would be out of debt by 2173. The morbid reality is that the $100,000,000,000 ANNUALLY  would be hard enough to cut on it's own, and the $1,000,000,000,000 PLUS ANNUALLY being borrowed is impossible in the current political climate. 
   Right now, the dialog about the U.S. financial position is as humiliating as the situation itself.  The degree of reality and sincerity with which it is being discussed is borderline sociopathic. Until a majority of people start demanding real fiscal responsibility, and grasp the reality that many people, if not all, are going to lose some level of entitlement, the situation will only get worse. If this rate continues, in 7 years or less, it will no longer be about helping the less fortunate, because there really will be a 99% percent, and they will all be less fortunate. 

Questions or comments? Feel free to post here or email me at edwardsanalysis@gmail.com

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Polls And The Election

   One poll done by two very respectable sources this week showed a margin of error that was "3.27%".  That's pretty funny. Polls are a lot like movies.  There is comedy, action, love, and continuing drama. Everybody is talking about polls, and many are even offering their opinions on them. The problem there is, everybody knows exactly what an opinion is like... and everybody has one.

   With only a few exceptions, the people with an opinion have motives. This is where things get murky. When emotions and personal desire comes into play, scientific method can and usually does get forgotten. People bend results to what they want them to be, which taints the whole pool. Being a public pollster is tough. You're essentially a public opinion odds maker. In the case of the presidential race, you're creating a line on how a 100,000,000 or more people will react. For a professional football game, Las Vegas odds makers have less than 250 people and odds to calculate, yet the Vegas casinos can be different in their offerings. They also enjoy the added benefit of seeing where the gambling public is placing their money. Someone placing their money where their mouth is, is way better than a partisan opinion. Still, the odds makers can be WAY off, in fact it happens all the time. Odds makers get seasons of time to re-calibrate their accuracy, pollsters get two opportunities to see how right they are: primaries and general elections They also have to contend with what they see other pollsters doing, and this plays into some houses methodology. It can very much be a "keeping up with the Jones'" scenario.

   The methodology difference is starkly apparent in the discrepancies of the results. Many houses get very different numbers from each other, and the numbers fluctuate non stop. Ask yourself this question, "how many times have I seen someone REALLY change their opinion on a topic like this?" The reality is that this kind of fluctuation is terribly wrong. Cataclysm aside, both Romney and Obama will end up with 43% of the vote each due strictly to party turn out. This leaves a top possibility of 14% of slack. Of that 14% of voters, it is reasonable to assume that a min of 4% (2%+2%} is committed both ways, getting to 45% each. Now what? Now the goal of Romney's campaign is to get 48.9% (4.89% of the total) of the remaining voters., totaling 49.89%. But that's less than 50% of the vote!!! He'll lose!!! Wrong. Populous states like NY, CA, and IL will contribute to large overages in the popular vote but are of no consequence in the electoral college. About the voter change, it does happen, but not so spastically. For any voter that is undecided at this point, the change is coming glacially, or instantly. The glacial change won't be done till November, and the instant change can happen at any time. Currently, president Obama is losing the instant change to foreign policy fiascos and people who originally disregarded him as a redistributionist. Romney isn't losing ANY votes over his 47% comment. While there are factual errors, the general tone is correct, and it most likely is not offending anyone already voting for him. He could have said it much better, and if the campaign defines the intent, it will turn into a positive. Conversely, there is no positive outcome in any regard for a tortured and murdered ambassador.

   The polls say a lot, but the communication is not one way. They don't think, feel, and breathe, but voters do. To communicate with the polls these pundits should step out of "the story of the day" and assume a more long term view.

   Besides, if the polls did all the work, and they were clinically precise, strategists would have to find new jobs, and you would not be reading this.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The DNC Convention and Obama's Re-election Bid

   The DNC Convention was three days packed full of speakers. The physical stage looked great and the  production was very well done. The question is, did the convention serve it's purpose? That depends on what you think the goal should be. If the goal was to help President Obama get re-elected, then the grade is a D-. While the convention was packed full of speakers, it was not packed full of the message necessary for an Obama win.

   For President Obama to stay in office, the convention had to make the case that he is the right guy to get the country to where it wants and needs to be. It needed to really work the idea about how terrible things would have been without him, and even though it tried, it failed. Many of the speeches were very good. Michelle, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack all gave great speeches. They were very moving, well timed, and expertly delivered. All four of them proved that they are great on a stage, but they did not make the case for re-election like the campaign desperately needed. Compounding the problems for Barack & Co. were the lead in speakers. 

   Tuesday night the lead in speaker to Michelle Obama was Mayor Julian Castro. This guy is the embodiment of a pandering politician or a proselytizing preacher, you take your pick. It was a speech empty of policy specifics. Instead he only offered general ideas of class warfare and party line lies. Most notably he said that President Obama got healthcare expanded to all Americans, wrong. CBO estimates that by 2020 there will still be 30,000,000 Americans will still be uninsured. In the auditorium, none of that mattered, the crowd loved his approach and delivery. The downside is that his willingness to offer empty words and just say what people wanted to hear was likely a turn off to the undecideds.

    Following his empty speech was a very deep and heart felt speech from Michelle Obama. However, the depth came from describing how Barack's heart feels. She made an airtight case that she married the right man for her, and by all accounts an all star father. What Michelle did not do was make the case for re-election. Very few people, if anyone at all, doubt that he is a great husband and father, what they do doubt is that he can get the job done turning around America. The speech text on the face is one thing, it's the subtext that must be analyzed to grasp the impact of speech in totality. She seemed unsure when commenting on policies, and used a lot of "ifs." 

   There are also a few specific lines that we should look at here. First, while talking about the problems a president faces, she said "the problems where no amount of numbers or data will get you the right answer... as president you are going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people, but at the end of the day when it comes time to make that decision as president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are." Most voters do not want to hear that their President is winging it. Yes, it is clear what she was going for, Barack has a big heart that guides his decision making, but that is NOT a good case for re-electing him. Many discerning voters are likely to find it offensive that he is possibly not listening to as many expert opinions as he should, or that he is not gathering enough information. Life experience may tell you not to eat that habanero pepper, or to keep your hands inside the bus, but it cannot prepare you to be President of the U.S.A. Also, most of life experience comes from mistakes, is she saying that he is making decisions based on past mistakes? Second, she said "For Barack, success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives." This was another misstep. Again, it's clear what she was going for, but that is not what people who are struggling to pay the bills, unemployed, underemployed, or in a number of other situations want to hear. They want, they NEED to hear that the good jobs are coming back, and that opportunity dawns anew. Third, and this was the biggest mistake, she went into a portion of the speech where she actually highlighted people sacrificing more. She went as far back as the American revolution and the moon landing, then said, "surely we can keep on sacrificing for our own kids and grand kids, right?" This shows a level of disconnect. Many already feel as if they have sacrificed as much as they can, and the worst part is, it takes the idea of the current economy and makes it an indefinite time span in the voters mind. 

   Wednesday night was Sandra Fluke and Bill Clinton. Before these two came to stage there was a line of interesting speakers, and some odd gaffes. California Attorney General Kamala Harris spoke, and during her speech she mentioned that her and 48 other AG's, with Obama standing behind them, won a case against the big banks for $25 billion. Sounds great right? Well think about this.  The banks they won the suit against were: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC). Now look at how much they each got in the $700 billion tarp bill, listed in the same order: $45 billion, $25 billion, $25 billion, $45 billion, $16.9 billion. So $156.9 billion total that these five banks took away from the taxpayer bailout, and the mighty 49 AG's got $25 billion back for them screwing customers? Now most people won't know these numbers, but voters paying attention will definitely remember the $700 billion bailout. 

   Keeping in tune with the bailout, following Kamala were multiple UAW people, including Bob King, the President of the Union. So, the people that many see as being responsible for the auto industry's troubles came out to talk about the auto industry being saved.  Okay cool, now we can see that tonight is really highlighting the bailout aspect. Joe Biden hadn't driven that home already with his "I got a bumper sticker" speech? This was wasted time on the stage, and it further highlighted the bailout big government theme that was really starting to build at this point. Sandra Fluke helped add to this. 

   A few months ago Sandra Fluke made news when she was supposedly rejected from a congressional meeting by house republicans. Having her speak was a terrible idea. Aside from coming across smug and immature in her tone, she included no policy specifically, and simply tried to scare women. There are two reasons that the decision to have her speak was appalling. First is the entire lie surrounding her story. Pay close attention here, because this is something that all voters should know. The original intent of a congressional meeting was to get facts about contraception on the congressional record. Darrell Issa a California republican who is the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee called the meeting so that house democrats could get facts about birth control on the record that had not been heard before. House democrats requested that Barry Lynn, a man who is recognized as having expertise in the matter, as the witness. House republicans agreed. The day before the hearing, the house democrats dropped Barry Lynn, and requested that Sandra Fluke testify in his place. They felt that her views as a woman, and as a democratic activist would serve them better, despite her not having any measurable amount of expertise other than her gender. Issa declined to play their game and rejected the request. After all that, the democratic subcommittee staged a meeting to look like a hearing and had her testify there. Her testimony was vague and she only offered unnamed examples. At this point, the focus turned to whether or not a private university like Georgetown should have to provide birth control, at their cost, to students. This whole scam was not about a RIGHT to birth control, it was about who should pay for it. This narrative of events is a potential political grenade waiting to explode. Second, the attempt to hammer home "women's healthcare rights" falls flat. It shows how it's not about the idea of access to contraception, but about how this group of people wants the American tax dollars to pay for contraception. There is huge difference between having access to contraception. and having the government pay for it. Most voters are against paying for people's lifestyle choices. 

   Now it's time to discuss President William Jefferson Clinton. His speech was great, he nailed it like he always does. The problem for Obama is that it was great for Bill and tepid for Barack. Sure, he endorsed Barack and talked about all the good things he has done, but his passion when talking about Barack was luke warm at best, while his passion for the democratic party (and himself) was palpable. Turn on any political talk show, or read any political magazine or newspaper and you'll hear about his likability, which is great, it's good that people like him. Since leaving the Presidency he has done a load of humanitarian work. He deserves that credit and the likability. What is not being said in any polls is his "Credibility" rating. The same guy who is best known for lying under oath is the same guy who said that President Obama is getting the job done. People will take it with a grain of salt. The undecideds expect him to help the party and say what he has to, so the overall boost is minimal if not a negative. When he wasn't giving half-hearted praise, he was reminding everyone how great things were, which highlights how things are today. It casts more question upon the current administration's ability to get the job done. 

   Thursday night, Kerry Washington, Scarlett Johansson, and Eva Longoria failed at getting the message out. They should stick to doing MTV awards appearances. Kerry came across as someone who was just repeating what they heard someone else say. Scarlett was worse. She admitted that her mom let her pull her voting levers. She admitted that 2008 was her first time voting. If she was such a concerned citizen why didn't she vote in 2004 or 2006? To the voter, that creates the imagery of fad support and no substance on the issues. To top it off, Eva's speech really flopped. She kept talking about taxes and tax cuts. Of course she thinks her money is better off with the government, she filed bankruptcy for two restaurants last year, to the tune $5.7 million in debt and losses of $76,000 a month. Thanks for the financial advice Eva. Most people do not want governance advice from someone that reads lines for a living, and especially an absentee bankrupt business owner. Additionally, the issue at the core is not about paying taxes, it is about how the money is spent. Another huge miss all three nights at the convention. 

   Following the celebrities was Joe Biden. It was shaky at first, as he messed up on the day Michelle spoke twice, first saying last night, which was wrong, then Monday - a day no one spoke, but he pulled it together. He came across as sincere and heartfelt. His speech was passionate and stirring, but again he did not make the case for re-election based on ability. Barack followed him, with more of the same. 

   President Obama did excellent in the delivery of his speech, but the substance was way too light. When he did touch on substance, he echoed the big themes of the convention: big government, easier immigration, more taxes, women's fears, and "it could have been worse." 

   By the time the Vice President and President spoke, everything had been said, and neither offered much new. The case was made repetitively for how big of a heart our president has. Again, that is not really being contested, what is being contested is his ability, and what is being alleged is that he is in over head. The convention did little to rebut this, and in some cases built on these criticisms. Whomever set the line up of speakers should be fired, immediately, and they are not the only one. Did you see the vote to put "God" and "Jerusalem as the capital of Israel" BACK into the platform? It was a complete debacle. It does not take a rocket scientist to see how that will affect the Jewish vote in Florida. A very important voter block in a very important state. The media has only served to compound the lackadaisical approach to running the convention. They were all laughing and repeating the Will Rogers quote, "I belong to no organized party, I am a democrat." This is a terrible plight upon the Obama campaign. How does this translate to that percentage of voters who have not made up their minds? Like this, if the campaign and party are too disorganized to run a three day convention, then how the hell can they help the country in four years? It didn't stop there either. Obama's speech was supposed to be in front of 76,000 people. Instead it was held indoors in front of 20,000. Delegates were literally left in the rain while lobbyists watched Obama's speech. Weather may very well have been the reason, and not crowd weakness, but it does not look good. 

   The best word to describe the three days is fiasco. Sure, there will be a poll bump, but it will be a quick hot burning fire instead of the slow building ember that is needed if Barack wants to keep his job. The one advantage that the President does have is that Governor Romney is still failing to define himself in depth enough for voters to move towards him. The campaign headquarters in Chicago had better think fast, because after October 3rd, that advantage will erode fast. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

   Tuesday was Michelle, last night was President Clinton, and tonight is our sitting President Barack Obama. If President Obama wants to stay in that chair, the stage has been set. His will likely be the most watched speech of either convention - if it's not, he is in deep, deep, DEEP trouble. Tonight he must make the case for four more years, but how does he do that?
   The case for four more years is a complicated one. The moment any president is elected they face an uphill battle named Expectations. Due to the tone and promises from the 2008 campaign, President Obama has been facing Great Expectations. When you don't meet those expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment, who is a package deal with doubt. So, when he goes on stage, Barack will be facing great disappointment and great doubt. President Obama's speech must convince the independent voters, the unemployed and underemployed voters, and the disenfranchised voters that if they give him four more years, the disappointment and doubt will not continue. 

   To use a cliche, the tone should be that it is always darkest before the dawn. Clinton said a lot of things in his speech, but the one that is the most helpful to Barack's re-election is that he created a floor and stopped the economic fall. Mr. Obama should take this and run with it. Are we better off than we were four years ago? He should propose that yes we are, and then he should ask voters to remember what it was like between September 2008 and January 2009. Relatively speaking, there is definitely a greater sense of stability now. In 2009, unemployment topped out at 10%, in 2010 it hovered around the upper 9's, in 2011 it dropped into the high 8's, and as he is speaking tonight it is working towards 8%. He should contend that we have been through darkness, and that soon the light will be coming. 

   Obamacare, the debt, budgets and spending, women's issues, and any temptation to talk about social issues should be avoided as much as possible. The message will have to be direct and simple, "My plan to create jobs is working." The simplicity and connection to all these voter groups is even more important considering who will be introducing the President. Eva Longoria, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington and possibly Natalie Portman will all be part of the build up to Obama's speech. This is a massive error. Having Bill Clinton speak was bad enough for the re-election efforts, but this is even worse. Having these ladies talk is a polar opposite to Clint Eastwood at the RNC convention. First, that was just one person with a long and tenured public life. Second, he has displayed that he is not a dyed in the wool republican. Clint has been on the record as saying "I like the libertarian view which is to leave everyone alone", and he has consistently worked to help candidates on both sides. He even held fundraisers for California Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Third, theses ladies are all known liberal democrats. Mr. Eastwood was a mayor, none of these ladies have policy experience that would suggest they have any clue who should be elected President. Lastly and most importantly, it showcases the idea that he is a pop culture President who is inexperienced and not up to the task. It even flaunts it. If things do not change at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago, and fast, it will be a long, long, L O N G 60 days for them. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bill Clinton's DNC 2012 Convention Speech

   The decision to have Bill Clinton speak tonight is a tactical error. Yes, he will give a great speech. Yes, he will make a great case for re-election. Yes, he will get a lot of media attention. However, all of his positives come with a price.

   Many political pundits, campaign commentators, and election enthusiasts seem to be struck by long term memory loss. Bill Clinton was first elected with 43.01% of the popular vote. Remove Ross Perot from the equation and Bush 41 is definitely re-elected, and possibly by a landslide of over 14,000,000 votes. Bill was re-elected with 49.23% of the vote. State by state analysis shows that there was a possible, maybe even likely Dole win with 288 electoral votes, IF once again there was no Ross Perot. Additionally, this was a low turn out year. Only 49% of the voting age population turned out to cast their ballot. So, his ability to inspire voters in the first place is very questionable. This is only the third biggest negative. 

   Coming in second place is the likelihood of Bill supporting Bill, and you know he will. His speech will hit the mark for what he wants, but is that Obama FOR four more years, or Hillary IN four more years? While conceivably overshadowing the entire event, he will likely promote himself and his wife. To do so he will talk about how great things were during his Presidency. He will paint a verbal picture of times many remember and cherish. Using the flawed prism of nostalgia, he will engage the audience in a whimsical walk down memory lane. Which brings us to the main reason his speech will not help President Obama's gain a second term.

   The primary reason President Clinton's speech will not help President Obama is that it draws a sharp contrast between the 1990's and his perceived good times, and where we are as a nation today. Every bright and broad stroke Clinton paints on his shrine - is at the same time a dark grey splashed upon Obama's altar. The illusion of a bright past will serve to dim the reality of the current moment. 
This contrast of realities, perceived or real, will make the case for four more years much more effete.

   Tonight we will hear President Clinton talk about prosperity and a strong middle class from a time now only a part of history. Tomorrow we will hear President Obama's plan about moving us "Forward", and why he needs four more years to achieve the past. Friday we will get the most recent jobs report that will remind us all of where we are today. The election will not be held in 1996, or in 2016, it will be held in 9 weeks. 

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RNC Convention Recap - DNC Look Forward

   Here we are four days removed from the RNC convention. Now it's time to take a look back at the event, and appraise it. There was a ton of material to cover, but only a portion that will possibly effect the election. That is what we are sticking to today.

   The best line from the convention has not been mentioned by the media. That's not a surprise, what is a surprise is that the Romney campaign does not have an online video leading off with it, and building upon it. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said:

      "Then you have Barack Obama, who has never started a business - never even worked in a business. And he claims those who have should give credit to the government or someone else for their success. So, you have one candidate who understands that success comes from working hard, competing, and taking risks. And you have another candidate  who believes success comes from the government. Which one do you think knows how to turn this economy around? Which one would you choose to invest your life's savings? Should it be any different for safeguarding our nation's economy?"

   The message here is so succinct and complete. The RNC or Romney/Ryan should plaster this everywhere. To be more specific, they should show a spending graph for the last 4 years, and a constant ticking debt clock the whole time. 

   The funniest speech was Tim Pawlenty (yes, even funnier than Clint). Really, it was more of a roast than a speech. He called President Obama the tattoo president. "Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young, but later you wonder what was I thinking? The worst part is, you're going to have to explain it to your kids." He also quipped that "Lot's of people fail at their first job." Whether you support President Obama or not, that is just good comedy.

   Now we are down to the big seven speeches. In order of delivery we have: Ann Romney, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood, Marco Rubio, and Governor Romney. 

   Ann Romney's speech was masterful. She immediately made it not about politics, but about an American family. She specifically focused on women. She mentioned that the sighs from from wives and mothers are always a little bit bigger because of how much they have to handle. She also made a statement that was a home run when speaking to women, "We're too smart to know there aren't any easy answers." If you go back to my post on Female Voters, this is the kind of campaigning I was referencing. Beyond that, she really nailed it down when she said, "Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others, because he sees it as a privilege." This might be the second best line to Senator Portman's. Consciously and/or subconsciously, many if not most voters make a judgement on why someone would want to be President.  Why would a very wealthy family man with 5 sons, and scores of grandchildren (just kidding, I think it's 16), want to take the job of President? He's 65, his wife is 63, she beat cancer and now she is battling MS. They are of family of means. They can live anywhere, and do practically anything they want. Why would he want to spend the next 4 to 8 years in a position of such high stress and worry, instead of spending it with his wife and family? Well, she answered that. He sees it as an honor. Again, this is a very, VERY compelling message in my view, and one that the Romney campaign should put out there more.

   Chris Christie was okay, but he was not great. There is a lot of speculation as to why he wasn't "himself." Possibly it was a crafty move by the Romney campaign. They asked him to tone down the shtick on purpose so that it wouldn't over shadow anything or anybody else for better or for worse. As for the content, it can be summed up as such: "Chris Christie loves you and Chris Christie, and Chris Christie wants you to stand up and love America, and Chris Christie, along with Chris Christie." It was gratuitously self indulgent. Did it work to promote him? Time will tell.

   Worth a short mention is a speech I'm sure many missed, but it may have had an effect on the big speech of that day. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, son of Congressman Ron Paul, spoke Wednesday before Paul Ryan. Rand's speech really worked up the crowd and got a big applause. It was a mix of cheer leading and policy. It looks like this may have stolen some of Paul Ryan's thunder.

   Paul Ryan's speech was a lot of what was expected. He did very well. Pundits have been commenting that he was dry, or that he was outright lying. What he actually appeared to be was focused and serious. Right now that is what many of the swing voters are looking for, someone who is not overwhelmed and up to the challenge. His speech did exactly what it needed to do. Feel good speeches don't cut it anymore. Voters want to sense that speakers have a good enough grasp on the problems to create an answer. Want a good and simple barometer of it's impact? Just look at how democrats and main stream media responded to it. (This method works both ways). The more worked up they are, the more impact it had.  In this case, they have been very worked up and yelling about lies to the high heavens, or talking about George W. Bush... Who is NOT on the ticket.

   Someone else being called a liar, although not to his face, is Clint Eastwood. This speech, excuse me stand up routine, I watched at least four times to make sure I got it. It really was an unpolished gem. Before 08/30/2012, what odds would you have expected on Clint Eastwood talking about crying? There were moments of real genius in there. The implication of "Governor Romney can't do that to himself" was brilliant. He made some very important points: we own this country, we are the best, and if someone can't do the job, fire them - we don't have to be mental masochists and vote for them, and he wrapped these comments in comedy. How did the left respond to this? Very shortly afterwards the official Obama twitter account posted a pic of the President in a Presidential Chair saying "This seat's taken." That is pretty heavy when you think about it. Whether you liked or hated Bush and Clinton, they both likely would have laughed a lot, and yes I know, I know. Bill tried to tell Hillary it was an empty chair, and George probably had a conversation with an empty chair before. Another big surprise, and possibly a big take away with voters, is how much Eastwood talked. Mr. Eastwood has been in the public eye for over 55 years, have you ever heard him referred to as loquacious?

   Following Clint was Marco Rubio. This speech I watched more than twice as well. For awhile now, I have been paying attention to Senator Rubio with a certain amount of apathy. Many of my conservative friends have been over the moon for this guy. This speech showcased why so many people like him. He is the American dream. His parents immigrated to America and worked all the time so that he and his siblings could pursue their dreams. As a first generation American, to be a senator in the U.S. Senate is pretty much dream accomplished. He brought all of this to the forefront. Additionally, his speech was an eloquent transition of tone from Clint to Governor Romney.

   Mitt Romney's speech was well done. Many have panned it saying he didn't offer enough details. President Obama said it belonged on black and white TV. Voters may think differently. His first good decision was coming out and shaking hands BEFORE the speech. Had he done it after, the networks would likely have cut away. What many political talking heads are missing, is what the entire tone of the speech said. He offered specific examples of what he considers Obama failure, and he offered his plans. Commentators get hung up on single lines and phrases because they deal with so much information. Most swing voters that see this will look at the whole story. If you take it for that, it was reality based and it told us that it's time to roll up the sleeves and go to work.  Romney took a square look at the here and now, and he did so with an eye to the future. The campaign message of the night was "we can", and the message matched the slogan. Well done. That is not being offered by Obama/Biden. In direct contrast, the Obama/Biden ticket keeps giving mixed signals by talking about Bush and Clinton, yet they are using the campaign message forward. Which leads me to the next topic, the DNC convention.

   Tonight at the DNC convention the heavy hitters we have lined up are: Harry Reid, a Jimmy Carter video, Kal Penn, Governor Martin O'Malley, and Michelle Obama. You can see the full schedule here. Also, if you use an iPhone or iPad, there are some really cool apps out there for this event, they should make it more fun to follow along.

   The democrats have a very uphill battle. Can President Obama and the DNC turn this around and win? Yes, definitely. Are they making the moves to do it? Not even close.

   The biggest issue the Obama campaign faces is the unemployment rate. You can spin the numbers all you want, but unemployed people know they are unemployed. Their family knows it. Their friends know. Businesses where they used to shop know it. This is a looming problem. You really cannot say "I have a plan to..." when you are already the President. The immediate, and in this case lasting, response in the voters mind is "Well why the hell haven't you used it already, why are you waiting?" or "Oh, because the other plan worked so well." You cannot win that way. You must take a completely different approach, and no I will not discuss it. As a political strategist, figuring out how to win when everyone else is losing is my stock-in-trade.

   So tonight, if Obama and the DNC want to win, they must begin anew. Scrap what they have been doing and take a completely different approach. Saying "it could be worse" is the same thing as saying "I haven't lost yet." The clock is ticking.

Additional notes:

Even after Clint, the DNC convention is sticking with it's celebrity line up. Strategically, this nullifies the whole "Mitt Romney is out of touch" argument. Who is more out of touch than someone that gets paid millions to play pretend?

A British newspaper is reporting that the Obama speech may be downsized from a 74,000 outdoor arena to a 20,000 seat indoor arena. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

According to a new poll from The Hill and Pulse Opinion Research, only 40% of likely voters believe President Obama deserves a second term. This Friday, literally 9 hours after Obama's speech, the jobs report comes out and it will affect this number for bad or for good.

The Daily has a report of how much the government managed to spend on chairs. Only read THIS if you feel like shaking your fists.

Questions or comments? edwardsanalysis@gmail.com


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Romney's Record Speech

   Tuesday night, Ann Romney shined. She has been commended and she has been panned, but whatever any of the talking heads say, they cannot take away that she was positively brilliant. She reached out to women and men alike. Through her words, it was made clear to voters that her and Mitt are grounded people. Last night Paul Ryan was very serious and all business. It was an excellent contrast to the lighter tone of Mrs. Romney. He was straight forward, factual, and showed a readiness to get things done.

   Tonight is Governor Romney's chance to pick up where they left off, and secure his victory. I've said it before and I'm saying it now, Mr. Romney currently has between 302-322 electoral votes. With the right words and story arc he can shore up that number, and potentially add to it.

   It is clear that the Obama camp strategy is to reach female voters. His approach is 100% reproductive rights and women's healthcare. This tactic is being used to the extent that Sandra Fluke is a prime time speaker (Really?). In my post earlier this week I covered why this strategy will not work, now I am going to tell you what will work.

   If Mitt Romney asked for my advice, this is what I would tell him...  To create real, and lasting separation in a path to the White House, you should crush the Obama camp's plan to target women right out of the gate.  Immediately, after the pleasantries and niceties that begin most speeches, you should swing for the fences.Your open should be along the lines of...

   "My opponent is campaigning on women's reproductive rights and the idea that there is a war on women. He wants your taxes to pay for their medical care and contraception. Then, when people disagree with the taxpayer carrying the burden for this, his proxies say that there is a war on women. To President Obama and all of his surrogates, I say this... There is most definitely a war on women. A silent war with a jarring amount of casualties. Since president Obama took office, 780,000 more women are unemployed. That is a war of attrition on women in the workplace, on their financial stability, and on their freedom to pursue their goals and aspirations. I will make it my job, to create jobs, so that women can have the career they want, and the opportunities they want. The kind of jobs that come with benefits like healthcare, so that THEY can choose the doctor they want and buy the contraception that they think is best for them!"

   From here Mr. Romney should drop any mention of the sitting President, less is more. He should transition into talking about himself, giving a highlight reel autobiography. To get into particulars, he should focus on his executive experience, and his successes. Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples, is going to give a prime time speech about Mitt. This is going to be a great foundation for the success dialog. If you don't know the Mitt Romney Staples story, you may want to tune into CSPAN or your cable news channel of choice to watch. Mr. Stemberg will be on after 8 PM EST. Following Tom will be the former Massachusetts Lt. Gov, and the former Secretary of Workforce, both who served under Governor Romney. Mitt should build on what these people, and others have said by briefly recounting these experiences through his eyes. Next, he should add his involvement in the Olympics, and whatever accomplishments he is the most proud about. Then he should move into what he wants to do for America, and HOW he will do it. Americans are wanting a real record, and not just empty elocution. Governor Romney has a history of doing well for companies, events, and a state, but tonight is his chance to seal the deal on helping one specific person into an early retirement. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paul Ryan; You Heard It Here First

   The biggest speech of Paul Ryan's career to date, is tonight. He goes on after 10 PM EST. There is no way to overstate the importance of these 20-45 minutes. More than ever, the vice president plays a large role in the White House, and everyone knows it. More people will be watching him now, than at any other time in his career, and possibly at any other point in the campaign. The Romney/Ryan ticket is facing two looming issues: Who is Mitt Romney? and Who is Paul Ryan?

    Voters are making up their minds about Congressman Ryan, and they are doing it swiftly. Just a few hours ago, Gallup released a poll on Paul Ryan. In less than two weeks the never heard of/no opinion group has dropped from 58% to 26%. Unfortunately the wording of the poll makes it impractical to separate that final 26%, but what we can be sure of is that many people are making their decision. His favorable stat jumped from 25% to 38%, while his unfavorable moved from 17% to 36%. Common wisdom (much different from common sense) would tell you that means he had a net gain of -6% and that people don't like him, and the elderly are scared, and that he's an extremist. All of this would be incorrect.

   I'm putting it in writing, right here, and right now; following Ryan's speech tonight the gap of favorability will open up widely in his favor. Additionally, over time it will widen out drastically and in my estimation land at 54 percent or higher by election day. He has a unique knack for expressing policy details without droning on, he is intelligent, he is confident, and he is the definition of articulate. People will gravitate towards him and his clear communication on how to handle the problems of the day.

   He will also showcase what kind of an executive Mitt Romney is. People will see what kind of decisions Mitt Romney makes first hand. Mitt has been successful with Bain, the Olympics, and politics, but those are all relatively ancient history in our 24/7 news cycle. They can also be spun and relegated in non-factual ways. As you read this, our deficit and debt are decisions starring directly at all of us. In a few short hours, Romney's most recent success, and his decision making adroitness will be starring us right in the face, and this time, we will be starring right back.

Big Media's Big Mistake

   Hey gang, just a short one here.

   After writing my last post, something dawned on me. Network news coverage, at the time I'm writing this, has made a critical error. FULL DISCLOSURE: I work for a branch of NBC Universal, however we do not cover hard news.

   Last night, NBC, CBS, and ABC will only covered one hour of the RNC Convention. Currently, that is the plan for the entire convention, and for the DNC Convention next week as well. Enough people are upset that even The Hollywood Reporter covered the dismay, and their main focus is the business of entertainment. Now, not everybody is a political junkie like yours truly, but it is a big event and most people do want to see the conventions and the big speeches. The people who MOST want to see the conventions are the undecideds and independents, the core block that will choose the winner this November.

   This is a good time for the networks and everyone else to be realistic. Nobody wants to watch the whole thing, unless they are being paid to do it. What people do like to do is record it, and then scan through for who they want to see (and yes they scan through the commercials, but at least there is a chance they will see YOUR commercials). Additionally, they are telling everyone, all voters, "We are not covering it, go out there and find your own sources to watch these events." That is a bad, bad, bad business model.

   All three of these networks have big news departments, they all have accomplished journalists, and they have compelling talent. They spend piles of money on advertising their morning news, nightly news and special report shows, and they spend even more dough producing these shows. Why on earth they would shy away from something with so much gravity in the world of news is beyond me. I came to terms with the fact that most news is reported in a myopic manner a long time ago, but the decision to do this on the business end baffles me. After the viewers find a different source they like, how many will return?

   What could be so important that they are not covering these once every four years events? We can all speculate and come up with quite a few ideas. The obvious one would be possibly ratings; do they think too many outlets are covering it, and they want to stick to their own original programming? Do they not take the Presidential conventions seriously? Could it be that the events are straight forward, and project the respective party lines, which in turn minimizes their opportunity to spin it? What ever the reason, they should be covering at least a respectable two hours.

   In the event that some of the viewers do return, how much seriousness and respect will they give to the networks? This decision really hurts all of them at the same time. Viewers have consistently been gravitating towards cable news. This decision will change the intensity of the departure from a migration to an exodus.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

REMINDER: RNC Convention Begins Tonight

Just a quick reminder that the RNC convention begins tonight. You can see the full schedule here.

You can also watch the convention on a live internet feed here or here.

The big speeches tonight will likely be Ann Romney and Gov. Chris Christie. Both of them come on after 10 PM EST.

Tomorrow, the whole shindig does not start until 7 PM EST. Condoleeza Rice and Paul Ryan will be on after 10 PM EST.

Thursday Gov. Mitt Romney will speak after 10 PM EST.

Also, this could be something or nothing, but according to the Order Of Business for the convention, there is still a TBA on the speaker schedule.

See you soon....

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Female Vote

   A sample cross section of nightly political talk shows reveals an intense interest in the female vote. Some of the commentary is correct, some of it is wrong.

   In Presidential Elections, women tend to vote more democratic and men tend to vote more republican. However, a crucial difference is that a republican candidate can win the Presidency without the female vote, while a democratic candidate has yet to do so in the modern era. Modern era is commonly accepted as being 1980 to current day. For the sake of this post, we will deal with 2000 - current day. The reason being the explosion of the internet and the resulting access to information.

   Why is the female vote so important? According to exit polls, in 2000 52% of the voters were women, in 2004 it was 54% and in 2008 it was 53%. In 2000, women voted 55% for Gore and 43% Bush. In 2004, women voted  51% for Kerry and 48% for Bush. In 2008, 56% of women voted for Obama and 43% voted for John McCain. Exit polls are really more of an approximation than an exact science. With phone polling people tend to be more honest, and you can use different tools to weight the results more accurately. Still, between exit polling, actual voter turnout, and voter registration it is clear that more women vote than men. Using very accurate turnout numbers, in 2008 nearly 10,000,000 more women voted than men, and the exit polling spread of 53-47 is consistent enough. Clearly, this is a big deal. Now we have to figure out the female voter.

   Female voters are motivated by different things than male voters. Women tend to be more involved with real world, day to day decisions than men. Who handles the medical care for the family? Who has the most input in large purchases like the house and furnishings? Who handles groceries, clothing, and the bills? All of this is just a sample, and while there are of course exceptions to the rule, this is the reality of many female voters lives. Additionally, women think quite differently than men. Men are more numbers and abstract concept driven than women. Women are more detail oriented and empathetic than men. HOWEVER, we all want essentially the same things: good schools, good jobs, safe places to live, and a sense of stability. So, to reach the female voter, you have to deliver the same message, just in a more intelligent fashion. (If you want to know the exact details of this, I am for hire). In an earlier post I commented that campaigning on reproductive rights to get the female vote was not going to work, and all of this is a big reason why. In addition, despite what you may hear on the news, this is really a non-issue meant to scare women into voting. In my analysis, the female voter is far, far too canny to fall for this. Most people are pro-choice, and it's not something that will be - or should be, especially considering the current economy - on the itinerary to be addressed.

   So how do you get the female vote? It's actually quite simple, all you have to do is give them an explanation. Explain to them what it is you want to do, how you plan to do it, and do so in a smart and reasonable manner.

   As a reminder, the RNC Convention in Tampa, Florida this week. For you, my loyal readers, I will watch, analyze, and report on anything that will have an effect on the election. Unless things change more due to Hurricane Issac, the notable speeches will most likely be Ann Romney (Tuesday), Chris Christie (Tuesday), and VP Nominee Paul Ryan (Wednesday). Hmm, I wonder what's going on Thursday?...


Thursday, August 23, 2012

"How" Romney Can Win

   In my last post I covered Obama's Big Advantage, today I am going to break down what the Romney campaign must do to overcome it.

   With 75 days left until the election there is a lot of noise, but one very quiet area - policy specifics. President Obama's policies are a known quantity. Some people know the details, some people know enough to understand them, and others are still forming their opinions. Point being, they are public domain. The same cannot be said for Mitt Romney. Sure, ads are out there about what he wants to do, but there is very little "How" or "What". This is a huge issue. You can go to the campaign site where there are a few videos or to his YouTube channel where there are almost 200 videos. We are hearing about "Mitt Romney's Plan" but we aren't hearing the plan. It is impossible to underscore the importance of this distinction.

   Initially, it is paramount that they pull back on the negative ads. Currently the majority of commercials are attacks. We as voters have been exposed to negative ads for so long now that they no longer have the impact they once did. The voter is more intelligent and discerning than many in politics believe. Furthermore, it frees up money and ad space for more important communications. Sure there are some effective negative ads such as Our Time and A Clear Choice, but they are effective because they end on a positive note and set the stage for further ads by the Romney campaign. The shift in message needs to move to commercials like Believe In Our Future and The Right Kind of Leadership. These highlight the difference between the two candidates, and they begin to offer an idea of what he plans to do, and how he plans to do it. New ads underscoring the "How" must follow on the heels of these.

   "How" Governor Romney plans do "What" he plans to do must start to be part of the dialogue, sooner than later. Right now, Medicare and personal attacks dominate the discussion, but this will change. Recent Gallup Polls of Swing State Voters and U.S. Economic confidence show a likely approaching electoral tidal wave. The economic confidence is "stable at a low level", meaning that it's low, has been low and is likely to stay low. Exacerbating the situation is the opinion in the swing states; more voters are blaming President Obama than President Bush (43), and of course a sizable portion blame both. Now guess who they don't blame - Mitt Romney. It is imperative that he start to put his plan out there to develop the substance that so many are expecting after picking a policy and budget guy like Paul Ryan.

   Mitt's original plan included 59 Policy Proposals in a 160 page document. Clearly not many people read that. Recently they have moved to a more visually attractive and reader friendly Big 5 style plan. For message purposes, this is enough. Unemployment has been on the rise in 44 States, Gallup shows Romney leading 47 - 44 and Rasmussen has Romney leading 45-44. A quick note on why these polls matter - two words, "historical accuracy." Over time both have been shown to be consistently accurate, and in 2008 Rasmussen was the most accurate of all public data. What is most telling about both of these is President Obama's inability to get over 50% in the past three months. Additionally, the President's campaign has been on a big spending streak since mid April, yet they have seen no positive upturn. Still, Romney must start into the substance as soon as he can. Yes, what Romney is doing is working for now, but the shift is necessary to solidify, and enlarge his lead. Without this substance, the support will begin to wane.

   On August the 31st, Governor Romney can start to spend the treasure trove of cash that his campaign and the RNC have amassed. Going forward, Mitt should start to sound like a broken record: "middle class, jobs, job training programs, small business tax cuts" and then to back it up, tell America "How."

Questions or comments? Feel free to post here or email me at edwardsanalysis@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Obama's Big Advantage

   Fundraising letters since June sent directly from the Obama Reelection Campaign have been stating the need for more money, and how Gov. Romney will out spend the Obama campaign. This past Friday, one came from President Obama with the title of "This Is Critical" and Monday morning one came from Joe Biden promoting the contest to go the the DNC Convention. Both campaigns appear to be intensely focused on the money aspect right now. If all trends continue, this will be the first time that a sitting President has raised less funds than his challenger. Right now the Romney campaign is nearing the halfway mark to their goal of $800,000,000 and they have about $190,000,000 on hand.   Much of this they cannot spend until Gov. Romney is the official nominee, so expect the intensity to kick up a little bit after August 30th.

   So how important is all this in the grand scheme of President Obama's reelection campaign? It's not really important at all. Many people love to tout these numbers, but they are not a real world indicator of success or failure. Do you need a boat load of money to run a Presidential campaign? Hell yes, but you only have to raise enough to produce efficacy.

   What many lose sight of is the real purpose behind a political ad. The entire point is to get your message to the voters. In this realm quality is king, not quantity. Sometimes we can see an ad for something 100 times and not be intrigued by it. For me a very specific example is a certain fast food chain that considers themselves to be burger royalty. I live in California, and in our market this self appointed autocracy keeps advertising a Memphis BBQ sandwich. No, no, and a side of no. I would have to be a hostage before I ate this. And that is how many people are with political candidates.

   In Presidential elections 41-43% of the voting population will vote for the candidate with the D next to their name, and 41-43% will vote for the candidate with the R next to their name. There are of course exceptions to the rule, Perot taking votes in 1996 and 1992, and other odd cases, but in relation to this cycle the math will hold due to the lack of a viable 3rd party candidate. So the goal becomes wooing 7.1% to 8.1% of that undecided vote.

   This translates to allocation of funds to very specific areas. States like California, New York, and Maryland, the Obama campaign will not need to spend anymore than the obligatory amount. Sans an epic event for the ages, these are solidly in their electoral column. Based on the most accurate current data available, President Obama has a very safe 216 electoral votes in his column, and my estimate is conservative. Keep in mind that 270 is the magic number, which leaves only 54 necessary to win his second term. Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 votes) and any other state will do the job. Of course there are other combinations of states that would do it, but this is the big one. PA looks to be going Obama and FL is a toss up. So the efforts, and funds can be concentrated into just a few states. A few other factors help trump the money advantage.

   President Obama ran and won in 2008, that network is largely still there. The ground presence and grassroots efforts have been in place, and they are likely effective at what they are doing. This can be a very important part of the process. It does not matter how many people WOULD vote for a candidate only how many actually do vote for them. Another, and possibly the biggest advantage, is the bully pulpit. The sitting President has more free coverage through the press than any other human in the world. He can use this to get his message out, for free, on a daily basis. He can address what he wants, how he wants, when he wants, and the White House press corps (that literally travels with him every where) will cover it all, it will be printed, it will be talked about in the news, and all this will happen at a moments notice. Ads, on the other hand, can take significant time to get placed, and they typically get less exposure.

   Don't get too comfortable, we still have 76 more days until the election, and it will really heat up after the conventions. Stay tuned, in a later post I will address why the money and even the bully pulpit may be non-factors for both candidates. Message content will decide the election.